News: “Reasonable ground to believe” Karrayyu Gadaa leaders’ killing constitutes “extrajudicial killing” by security forces: EHRC

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Some of Karrayyu’s Gadda Michille leaders, Councilors and Qallu (Spiritual leaders) who were executed on December 1, 2021

Addis Abeba, February 2/ 2022- The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) today released a report on the killing of the Karrayu’s Gadaa Michilee leaders on December 1 last year. The commission said that there’s “reasonable ground to believe” that the killing of 14 members of the Gadaa leaders constitutes “extrajudicial killing” by security forces. It also urged that members of the security forces who committed the killings should be brought to justice and that the victims and families of the victims should be compensated. 

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In its press briefing held on February 1, 2022, the EHRC stated that based on the information it received, it launched an investigation on the December 1 incident between December 16 and 21 of 2021. 

The report chronicled the events beginning from November 30, 2021, where 11 police officers were killed and at least 17 others were injured in an attack by unidentified gunmen in Haro Kersa Kebele, who were on their way back to Metehara town from work. The report continued,”On December 1st, 2021 government security forces arrived at the seat of Karrayyu Abba Gadaas and members of Jilaa in Tutiti kebele to search for the suspects and arrested 39 members of the Gadaa leadership.”

“After a group of 16 people were taken to Chebi Anole Forest, they were told to lay in a row. Finally they were told that the hour for their killing was approaching. But before they died, those who had money on them were asked to hand it over. At the same time, killers were assigned for each. They were given orders to execute them after 6:00[PM].”

EHRC report

The report detailed that 16 of the members of the Karrayu Michille Gadda leaders who were arrested by security forces, were taken to the woods, a place called Chebi Anole, and 14 of them were shot dead. After listing the names of the 14 Gadaa leaders who were killed, the report mentioned that two people managed to escape into the bush.

“After a group of 16 people were taken to Chebi Anole Forest, they were told to lay in a row. Finally they were told that the hour for their killing was approaching. But before they died, those who had money on them were asked to hand it over. At the same time, killers were assigned for each. They were given orders to execute them after 6:00[PM].”

The report quoted eyewitnesses as saying, “They were shot on their heads and their backs. People who went to collect bodies were prevented by the police. The bodies were stranded for several hours and were partially eaten by wild animals.” 

The report also stated that  23 people who went missing after the abduction of the Gadaa leaders were jailed in Oromia Special Forces camp and the body of one of the detainees, Jillo Boreyu was returned to his family. “There were injuries on several parts of his body,” the report said, quoting the family member of the deceased. The commission also noted that the remaining jailed members were released. 

The report underlined that the Gadaa leaders were brutally murdered while they were under the custody of government security forces. “There is reasonable ground to believe that the killings  are extrajudicial killings” the report read, adding “There is reasonable ground to believe that the death of one of the detainees while under custody and the lack of investigation surrounding his death amounts to extrajudicial killing.” 

Daniel Bekele (PhD), the Commissioner-General of the EHRC, recalled the Commission’s recommendation that a proper criminal investigation is carried out as soon as possible to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous crime be held accountable. ” By clarifying the truth about the incident, it is necessary to restore peace and security in the community by ensuring justice and taking necessary action based on compensation for the victims,” he said. Dispatch

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